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Trust in Big Tech Becoming an Increasingly Partisan Issue

'Our take is that’s reflective of a view that tech is the purview of liberal, coastal elites...'

(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Democrats and high-income earners have much more trust in Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook than Republicans, middle- and working-class Americans, Axios reported.

Both Democrats and Republicans have lost trust in Big Tech, but the 24% decline in trust among Americans—from 78% in 2012 to 54% today—during the past decade has become increasingly partisan.

Market-analysis agency Edelman’s 2022 Special Report on Trust in Technology found that 65% of Democrats trust technology companies, while only 49% of Republicans and 50% of independents trust them.

“Our take is that’s reflective of a view that tech is the purview of liberal, coastal elites,” Edelman Deputy General Manager Margot Edelman said.

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Nearly six in 10 high-income earners said they trust the technology sector, but only 49% who reported a low income and 56% who reported a middle income.

“There’s a natural intersection between fears of job loss and automation and a lack of trust in the sector,” Edelman said.

Americans do not distrust technology across the board. Companies that produce high-tech computers, appliances and vehicles do not receive the same distrust as social-media companies.

“What constitutes ‘tech’ is expansive,” Edelman said. “It’s no longer hardware and software—it’s about digital apps and social media. When people in developed markets consider the tech sector to include social media, their trust declines by nearly 10 points, showing the downward pull of social media on tech overall.”

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Edelman’s survey included 22 countries. Respondents from the United States indicated the lowest trust in Big Tech (54%), with Canada (59%) and Japan (60%), coming in second and third.

Even as Americans feel less inclined to trust technology companies, they put higher demands on them to improve the world.

“This lack of trust comes in stark contrast to a whopping sense from respondents that technology companies and CEOs need to do more to drive societal change and address key issues,” Edelman said.

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